09/08/2011

British Library launches Leonardo da Vinci notebook on iPad

Codex Arundel to feature on iPad in spectacular High Definition

The British Library has launched today a ground-breaking ‘eBook Treasures’ series which will allow iPad users to download entire ancient manuscripts. Starting with Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Arundel (1478-1518), users will now be able to hold rare, unique and original manuscripts in their hands and explore them in depth and spectacular high-definition.

First to launch will be the Codex Arundel and Mercator’s Atlas which will be available for download globally from 25 July in Apple iBookstore. Introductory prices are £3.99 for Codex Arundel HD Highlights and £9.99 for the complete version, with Mercator's Atlas priced at £6.99. More information can be found at http://www.bl.uk/ebooktreasures/

Developed with Armadillo Systems, each eBook will allow users to access greater content and in-depth detail about the item such as written, video and audio interpretation. eBooks will be viewable full-screen, with award-winning realistic page-turning and can also be viewed offline.

Over the coming months, users will be able to download other Library Treasures in HD, including:

  • ‘Literature’ – Alice’s Adventures Underground (1862-64), Carroll’s handwritten and illustrated original of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, William Blake’s notebook (1700s) and Jane Austen’s The History of England (1791)
  • ‘Sacred Texts’ – The Tyndale Bible (1526), the first English language Bible to appear in print and Sultan Baybars’ Quran (1304-6), the epitome of sumptuous Arabic calligraphy
  • ‘Music’ – Handel’s ‘Messiah’ (1741) and Beethoven’s Pastoral Sketchbook (1808).

75 titles will be available over the next two years, either in their entirety or as a selection of highlights, allowing unprecedented access to some of the British Library’s most precious manuscripts.

The Codex Arundel (1508-10), is one of Leonardo’s most prolific notebooks filled with illustrations and written in ‘mirror script’. His manuscripts document scientific and technological practice before the scientific revolution and few manuscripts by his contemporaries have survived. The Codex Arundel is one of the most important sources for understanding da Vinci’s work as a natural philosopher, engineer and artist.

The initial ‘eBook Treasures’ collection will also feature the Mercator Atlas of Europe (1570s). Gerardus Mercator, arguably the best cartographer of all time, put the Atlas together to plan the Prince of Cleeves’ tour of Europe. Painstakingly compiled using copies of maps, Mercator pieced them together and pasted them into the atlas.

Frances Brindle, the British Library’s Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications commented: “The iPad allows for greater intimacy and engagement akin to reading the original and we are delighted to be the first to provide full access to some of our unique Treasures in this way. The Library is committed to maximising access to all of its collections and increasingly, digital variations of books and manuscripts are allowing us to do just that.”

For more information contact:


BoilerPlate

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.  



"Established in 1993, Armadillo Systems develop award-winning applications to provide access and interpretation for libraries and museums. We work with some of the greatest institutions in the world and are developers of the original Turning the Pages software. eBookTreasures marks the beginning of our effort to make the greatest books in the world available to everyone. More information on the company is available at www.armadillosystems.com, and on eBookTreasures at www.ebooktreasures.org."
 

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